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Jubilee, Nasa trade barbs over poll readiness

Mercy Mwai and Seth Onyango @PeopleDailyKe

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party was yesterday locked in a fierce war of words with Raila Odinga’s National Super Alliance (Nasa) over the preparedness of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to hold the General Election on August 8.

Jubilee claimed that Nasa was planning to hack the electronic system that is designed to identify voters and transmit results so that the mechanism fails, likely paving way for the postponement of the elections.

According to the party, the plans by Nasa are allegedly being worked out in discreet locations Germany, Ghana and Tanzania by Nasa operatives who have put up clandestine workstations.

The party claimed Nasa is keen on ensuring that the elections fail on August 8, arguing this was the reason behind placing numerous legal hurdles on the way in order to have a grand coalition government (nusu mkate) in place.

However, Raila addressing journalists after holding separate talks with African Union Commission chairperson Moussa Faki in Nairobi, decried the state of electoral preparedness.

He claimed, with just over a fortnight to the poll, the electoral agency was ill-prepared for the event. He accused Jubilee Party of using State resources to campaign and faulted security agencies for alleged intimidation of the Opposition. “We are concerned about the intimidation of those tasked with offering protection,” he said.

Raila said the Opposition was worried that the Wafula Chebukati-led commission was moving at a snail’s pace to fix the electoral infrastructure. The former premier believes putting the Kenya Integrated Electoral Management Systems in place and a thorough audit of the voter register will be key to holding free and fair elections.

But three Jubilee MPs claimed Nasa is using the courts as a cover-up to ensure that the system is hacked so that they can call for postponement of the polls from the courts.

The MPs who included Kimani Ichung’wa (Kikuyu), Aaron Cheruyoit (Kericho) and Beatrice Elachi (nominated) said it was a matter in the public domain that Nasa has filed 30 cases in courts, some through proxies, in order to make it impossible for the country to have elections.

The trio claimed that the Monday case filed by Nasa to have the elections postponed if the electronic system fails on polling day, is a clear indication that they are not prepared for the election and thus want to be included in the government through the back door.

“Nasa is using the courts as a cover-up to hack the electronic system because it wants the elections to fail so that they can demand they be postponed in order for the government to have a ‘nusu mkate’ (half-loaf) government,” said Ichung’wa, adding: “Their actions to move to court recently are a clear indication that there is something they know and they should tell us what this is. Why are they pre-empting the situation by claiming the system will fail.”

Their sentiments comes just a day after Nasa called for the postponement of the elections in the event that the High Court finds that the electoral commission had not put in place a backup to the electronic system.

Through its lawyer Paul Mwangi, Nasa submitted that IEBC has powers under section 55(b) of the Elections Act to postpone the date of the election until the system is in place to achieve free and fair elections.

Addressing a news conference at the Jubilee Nairobi headquarters the MPs told Nasa to stop playing games as they had been doing and instead be ready to face the Jubilee party in the poll.

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